Most people have heard the term “Public Information” when it comes to government, whether it be at the local, state or federal level. Public Information refers to data or information that is generated and collected on behalf of constituents to help provide services and programs. For example, real estate property values, restaurant health inspections and field and court reservations data are deemed Public Information. Public information must be made available to anyone who requests it. Commonly, these requests are made by contacting a government office or by following a formal, mandated process known as a FOIA (Virginia Freedom of Information Act) request.
A newer, equally important means of sharing Public Information is known as Open Data, a proactive approach to sharing data using technology. With Open Data, the government routinely posts in-demand information online for all to see and share, rather than have a constituent request the information. Open Data may be used freely and shared without restrictions. Arlington County Government began its Open Data efforts in earnest in 2016. Today, we have a growing body of public information available for easy access on Arlington’s Open Data Portal. This portal houses many datasets and will expand as requests are made for new information and as County staff are able to prioritize, identify, sort and publish the data.
We invite you to explore our Open Data portal and see what Public Information it offers today.